May 3, 2017: 4:11 PM CT
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) (L) speaks during a news conference about the budget continuing resolution passed by the House near midnight with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (C) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) on September 23, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House officials say President Donald Trump is not appointing U.S. Rep. Tom Marino as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), U.S. News reports .
The Pennsylvania Republican was reportedly in the final stages of completing official paperwork for his nomination as ONDCP director, a position colloquially referred to as the drug czar, CBS news reported on April 11.
Marino, a former prosecutor now representing Pennsylvania’s rural 10th Congressional District, has faced negative press reports in recent weeks pertaining to his controversial past and has been harshly criticized by drug policy and criminal-justice reformers for “extremist” views.
The Drug Policy Alliance, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to progressive drug policy reform, was among a group of organizations calling to block Marino’s nomination for drug czar, warning that he is a “drug war extremist” who would roll back Obama-era policy reforms and “double down on the failed drug war.”
“Marino’s nomination seemed all but certain just a few weeks ago but a flurry of news stories on his extremist views , like turning hospitals into prisons , and using his power as prosecutor to help his friends, no doubt put pressure on the Administration to go in a different direction,” Bill Piper, senior director of the office of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, wrote in a Wednesday, May 3, news release .
The White House did not say why Marino was taken out of consideration for ONDCP director, according to U.S. News.
“With Marino knocked out of the running, President Trump has an opportunity to pick a better nominee for drug czar,” Piper said. He hopes the next drug czar treats drugs “as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue.”
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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) (L) speaks during a news conference about the budget continuing resolution passed by the House near midnight with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (C) and Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) September 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Republicans said that Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is playing politics when he says the bill does not include enough money for disaster relief and will not take up the legislation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Delaware Sen. Margaret Rose Henry plans to introduce a bill in 2017 to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use in the state, as reported by The Review. A survey conducted in September 2016 by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication found 61 percent of likely Delaware voters support legalizing the drug for adults 21 and older. Delaware legalized medical cannabis for qualified patients in 2011 and decriminalized low-level cannabis possession in June 2015. [Photo credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (cannabis); Noé Alfaro/Flickr (postcard)]
In October 2016, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said her administration would seriously consider legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use if voters in neighboring Massachusetts approved a November 2016 General Election ballot initiative to legalize the drug for adult use, which they did.
"If I could get myself comfortable that we, the state, could legalize in a way that keeps people safe, keeps children safe, folks aren't getting sick, then I would be in favor," Raimondo told the Providence Journal. [Image credits: David McNew/Getty Images (cannabis); Friscocali/Flickr (sign)]
Although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization, state lawmakers such as Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Nicholas Scutari, both Democrats, are pushing recreational marijuana efforts forward in 2016. Following a 2016 tour of Colorado’s state-legal marijuana system, Scutari said: "We want to learn from their experiences and improve upon it as much as we can.” He told NJ.com that he expects a vote on the issue in 2017. [Image credits: Alex Milan Tracy/Demotix/Corbis (cannabis); Noé Alfaro/Flickr (postcard)]
Advocates and sympathetic lawmakers are actively pushing to pass a comprehensive medical cannabis law in 2017. Texas already has a limited cannabidiol (CBD) law on the books, which allows qualifying patients to use nonpsychoactive cannabis oil for medical purposes. Efforts are also underway to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession in Texas in 2017, as reported by the San Antonio Current. [Photo credits: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images (cannabis); Calsidyrose/Flickr (map)]
On Dec. 6, 2016, Kentucky State Sen. Perry Clark prefiled a bill for the 2017 legislative session to legalize medical marijuana in the state. “Cannabis is medicine,” Clark said, refuting claims that legalizing medical marijuana increases youth drug use. “There is mountains of evidence that this is not going on," he said, as reported by WLKY. [Photo credits: David McNew/Getty Images (cannabis); Boston Public Library/Flickr (postcard)]
New Mexico faces a multimillion dollar budget shortfall in 2017, and some state lawmakers, such as Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces), are pushing recreational marijuana legalization as one potential way to grow jobs and shore up finances in the state, as reported by KOB-4.
"We want to take control of cannabis out of the hands of drug cartels in Mexico who are using profits to rape and murder people and put profits in the hands of legitimate business people and the government," McCamley said, adding that he wants “to bring $60 million for funding education and economic development and save cops and courts and prisons $33 million a year from prosecuting cannabis crimes that they could use to go after real criminals.” McCamley is sponsoring a bill in the upcoming 60-day legislative session to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. [Photo credits: David Ramos/Getty Images (cannabis); Jerry “Woody”/Flickr (postcard)]
The Vermont House voted down a Senate-passed measure to legalize marijuana for adult use in May 2016, but Marijuana Policy Project thinks Vermont lawmakers may be swayed in support of legalization in 2017, particularly in light of Massachusetts and Maine voting to legalize the drug in 2016. Massachusetts and Maine were among four states that passed recreational marijuana legalization ballot measures in the November 2016 general elections, bringing the national tally to eight states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the drug for adult recreational use. [Photo credits: Drew Angerer/Getty Images (cannabis); John LLoyd/Flickr (postcard)]
A medical marijuana voter initiative fell short of collecting enough valid signatures to appear on Missouri’s ballot in the November 2016 General Elections, as reported by Riverfront Times. But advocates and legislators are back at it this year, with two medical marijuana bills prefiled in December 2016.
Senate Bill 153, filed by Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, would expand Missouri’s current CBD-only medical cannabis program to allow people with serious conditions to use whole plant medical marijuana. Senate Bill 56, filed by Democratic Sen. Jason Holsman, would allow Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services to grant licenses for medical cannabis cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sales. [Photo credits: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (cannabis); roadsidepictures/Flickr (sign)]
A bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Maryland failed to move forward during the 2016 legislative session, but advocates and legislators are “gearing up for a strong push in 2017,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Polling done in 2016 found 61 percent of Maryland residents, and 63 percent of registered voters, support marijuana legalization. Maryland passed medical cannabis legislation in 2014. [Photo credits: David Ramos/Getty Images (cannabis); StreetsofWashington/Flickr (postcard)]
Illinois enacted a medical cannabis pilot program in 2013, and in March 2017, state lawmakers introduced bills to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Feedback hearings are currently underway, and the bills are expected to be called for a vote in 2018. Illinois’ current governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, is seen as a likely opponent of any efforts to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But Rauner is seeking re-election in 2018, and three Democratic contenders have already stepped up to the gubernatorial challenge. [Photo credits: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images (cannabis); Boston Public Library/Flickr (postcard)]
Gallery source links: The Review , Delaware State News , Providence Journal , NJ.com , San Antonio Current , Marijuana Policy Project , Kentucky Legislature , WLKY , KOB-4 , Marijuana Policy Project , Riverfront Times , Missouri Senate (SB 153) , Missouri Senat, e (SB 56) Extract , Chicago Sun-Times